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Synopsis

White Elephants

Brazil, which some call the spiritual home of soccer, hosts the 2014 World Cup next month. While millions of fans await the sport's premier spectacle, hundreds of thousands in Brazil have been protesting excessive spending on the construction of soccer stadiums, some of which they regard as "white elephants," i.e., mega-event complexes built with the promise of future success and riches, but with limited practical use for the future. The protestors are furious at the vast sums of money spent by the government on world-class stadiums while many in the country suffer from inadequate health care, education and infrastructure. Brazil has constructed 12 stadiums in as many cities at a total cost of $4 billion, and four of those are projected to be white elephants.

South Africa, the previous host of the World Cup, is home to nine white elephants, and Greece, host of the 2004 Summer Olympic Games, also has many unused stadiums that are a constant reminder of financial incompetence in the wake of the country's bankruptcy. REAL SPORTS correspondent Jon Frankel traveled to Athens, Greece and Manaus and Rio de Janeiro in Brazil to see where this troubling trend began and further examine the issue.

Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel

It's Time to Rumble!

Michael and Bruce Buffer are two of the most recognizable personalities in combat sports. Michael has bellowed his legendary catchphrase "Let's get ready to rumble!" at nearly all of the most notable boxing matches of the last 30 years, while brother Bruce is the "Veteran Voice of the Octagon" as the announcer for the UFC. Michael was born to a young couple during World War II and entered foster care in Philadelphia at 11 months old. Never formally adopted, he grew up with the surname Huber, but reassumed his legal last name, Buffer, when he joined the Army at age 20.

When Michael became a fixture on the fight scene, Bruce noticed his own striking resemblance to the well-dressed ring announcer, not to mention sharing the same last name. Working up the courage to ask his father if they were related, Bruce was stunned to learn they were indeed brothers. REAL SPORTS correspondent Soledad O'Brien sits down with the enterprising duo to learn more about this unexpected and inspiring story, and how it led to the birth of the Buffer Partnership.

Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel

Fields of Hate

With the world's attention focused on the upcoming FIFA World Cup in Brazil, REAL SPORTS revisits its Emmy®-winning 2005 expose of racism in elite professional soccer. In the original report, Bryant Gumbel traveled throughout Europe to talk with players such as French national and English Premier League superstar Thierry Henry, revealing blatant fan racism. Today, incidents of racism in European soccer remain all too frequent, and efforts by governing bodies like FIFA and UEFA to eliminate them have had limited success. Gumbel reexamines this hot-button issue with Henry, now a member of the New York Red Bulls, and American star Jozy Altidore, and seeks to find out what is being done to solve this disturbing problem.

Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel

Death at the Track

Hidden amidst the beauty and pageantry of the Triple Crown lies a darker picture of the thoroughbred racing industry - one of a widespread and dangerous drug culture that's killing dozens of horses at tracks every week. The issue has gained notice over the last two months as shocking undercover video filmed by PETA exposed the team of highly accomplished trainer Steve Asmussen allegedly drugging and mistreating their horses. Asmussen sits down with REAL SPORTS' Bernard Goldberg for his first extensive one-on-one interview to answer the charges. Goldberg, who won the Sports Emmy Award for "Outstanding Sports Journalism" for HBO's 2008 exposé on the hidden world of horse slaughter, also interviews Asmussen's former assistant, Scott Blasi, as well as veterinarians Dr. Kate Papp and Dr. Mary Scollay to find out what the racing industry is doing to protect the well-being of the horses. 

206: May 20, 2014

May 20 at 10 PM